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Saturday, September 27, 2014

K2, N-bome, Smiles, one step ahead

Employers’ new challenge: drug testing for synthetics

By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette  Published: August 31 2014 | 12:01 am

Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement: The trend of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones isn’t going away.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Manufacturers of synthetic drugs such as K-2 stay one step ahead of the law by changing the chemical make up when one substance is banned.  Employers are now faced with the dilemma of paying an added expense to test employees for synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, which differ from the regular drug tests. However, those tests may not be reliable because when the products are altered to skirt the law, new drug testing panels have to be developed to detect the recently created products. 

 “We have the convenience shops and head shops selling under control, but they are just getting smarter about it,” Stepleton said last week. “They don’t have it out in the open, and the regular customers know to ask for it.” “Outlaw one and there 15 new ones,” he said.

There were two recent convictions of distributors and three more are pending trials in this district’s federal court. In the wake of one death and five overdoses attributed to synthetics, the city of Cedar Rapids just amended an ordinance to fine and criminally charge anyone selling or buying products.  The total number of synthetic drug compounds listed as Schedule I controlled substances in Iowa now stands at 64, plus five classes of synthetic cannabinoids.

 QPS Employment Group, a staffing agency with 12 branches across the Iowa, including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, places employees in many manufacturing and other companies. Its regional vice president, Jim Roy, has discovered many aren’t aware the standard 10-panel drug tests don’t detect synthetics.   Gary Bucher, owner of ARCpoint Labs in Des Moines, said the standard 10-panel tests range from $50 to $60 per person. To add the two synthetic tests, it would be twice that amount.  He has interest from employees wanting to test for synthetics, but that cost deters them. His labs have done testing for parents who request it and for treatment agencies, though.


Posted By: STS  First @ 2:35:05 PM


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